Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Dark Victory (1939)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Dark Victory (1939)

In director Edmund Goulding's ultimate tearjerker:

  • the scene of socialite Judith Traherne's (Bette Davis) secret discovery in the doctor's office that her prognosis was negative
  • the final tearjerking sequences when dwindling eyesight informed her that death was near and she sent her husband Dr. Steele (George Brent) off to a medical conference - and truly accepted her coming death: ("You know I used to be afraid. I died a thousand times. When death really comes, it will come as an old friend, gently and quietly")
  • the ending scene in which she planted hyacinth flowers in the garden with best friend Ann King (Geraldine Fitzgerald) and comforted her: ("Don't, Ann. I'm happy, really I am. Now let me see, is there anything else? Oh yes, one more thing. When Michael runs Challenger in the National, oh, and he'll win - I'm sure he'll win - have a party and invite all our friends. Now let me see, silly old Alec, if he's back from Europe, Colonel Mantle and old Carrie and, oh yes, and don't forget dear old Dr. Parsons. Give them champagne and be gay. Be very very gay. I must go in now. Ann, please understand, no one must be here, no one - I must show him I can do it alone. Perhaps it will help him over some bad moments to remember it. Ann, be my best friend. Go now. Please")
Famous Death Scene
  • Judith's greeting of her dogs in the house, before going up the stairs toward her bedroom for the last time after telling her maid to let her die in peace: ("Is that you, Martha? I don't want to be disturbed") - reaching total blindness and death

Judith's Prognosis Negative Diagnosis

Judith's Final Goodbyes


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